My Grandpa, Harold Carleton Steves served in the U. S. Navy during World War 2. He was a radar man on an admiral/command ship. It was when radar had just been discovered by the U. S. He was one of the first few people to know about it and operate the radar equipment. For a time, the U. S. kept it a secret because it gave them such an advantage. Grandpa was ordered not to tell anyone about it.
Grandpa witnessed many of the humongous Naval battles that went on between Japan's and America's Navy. He also saw many of the huge Aircraft carriers* from World War 2.
One of the biggest invasions my Grandpa witnessed was the "Battle for Peleliu."
Here is a summary of the battle.
For 2 full days, starting on Sept. 12, 1944, Cruisers, Battleships, and Aircraft Carriers bombed and shelled the Island to "soften-it-up" for the Marines to land. Umurbrogol Mt. on the Island was nearly leveled in the process.The island was similar to Iwo Jima in that the Japanese had hidden pillboxes, tunnels, and hidden artillery all over the Island. The Navy, in total, fired 519 rounds of 16-inch shells, 1,845 rounds of 14-inch shells, 1,793 500-pound bombs and 73,412 .50 caliber machine-gun bullets into the island before stopping.
My grandpa remembers seeing planes going one after another to bomb the island; and the continuous pounding of the ships hurling their shells across the shore. He saw (and heard) all of this from his admiral ship.
I read in D-Day that when those huge battleships and cruisers would be firing, they would create large waves from the rocking of the ship.
After the ships and planes had finished "softening up" the island for invasion, they sent the marines in amtraks(tanks/boats) to the beach. The first wave of amtraks were totally obliterated by Japanese fire. The amtraks afterward didn't do much better. But steadily, the waves of Marines started pushing up the shores and making progress. After nearly a whole month of fighting against entrenched and pill-boxed Japs, the Marines completely controlled the entire Island.
Grandpa recalled watching all of this from his admiral ship. After the first and second waves of marines had charged, the hospital ships were already overflowing. Grandpa's ship was elected as an overflow ship, along with many others. Grandpa remembers helping the wounded on deck and one of the wounded men from the second wave of amtraks was badly wounded. This man was missing a large chunk of flesh from his side and his leg was gone. He was losing blood so quickly and they were having to pump so much plasma into him, that his blood was no longer red but clear. Grandpa and everyone else thought he wasn't going to make it but some days later he was up on deck doing fine with crutches.